Author Topic: SpaceX Falcon 9 v. 1.1 - Jason 3 - Vandenberg - Launch Viewing  (Read 43578 times)

Offline Bubbinski

I'm heading to Lompoc to go see my first SpaceX launch...and maybe my first landing?  Got everything all set, just need to figure out a good spot to view this launch and a possible landing attempt if such is in the works.  (Of course if it's a barge landing then I'll need a place with good wifi as I doubt I'd be able to watch it in person).

Will only be staying Sat night/Sun midday at present but have the option to extend if needed :)
I'll even excitedly look forward to "flags and footprints" and suborbital missions. Just fly...somewhere.

Offline ChrisC

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Normally I'm in the U.S. Southeast, but I will be in California for this launch (assuming it happens in the second half of January).   I'm familiar with east coast viewability of launches from the Cape, but no clue about west coast.  How far north in California would the launch be viewable, if only a bright spec in the far distance?

If Jan 17-24, I'll be on a hilltop north of San Francisco looking towards the south ...

If Jan 24-30, I'll be in Los Angeles ...
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Offline dcporter

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Normally I'm in the U.S. Southeast, but I will be in California for this launch (assuming it happens in the second half of January).   I'm familiar with east coast viewability of launches from the Cape, but no clue about west coast.  How far north in California would the launch be viewable, if only a bright spec in the far distance?

If Jan 17-24, I'll be on a hilltop north of San Francisco looking towards the south ...

If Jan 24-30, I'll be in Los Angeles ...

San Francisco will be the equivalent of watching KSC from Savannah, Georgia. I assume that's not great.

My map fu is a bit weaker to LA but I think that's the equivalent of watching from Jacksonville FL. Probably still not great.

CA is big.

Offline HMXHMX

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Normally I'm in the U.S. Southeast, but I will be in California for this launch (assuming it happens in the second half of January).   I'm familiar with east coast viewability of launches from the Cape, but no clue about west coast.  How far north in California would the launch be viewable, if only a bright spec in the far distance?

If Jan 17-24, I'll be on a hilltop north of San Francisco looking towards the south ...

If Jan 24-30, I'll be in Los Angeles ...

San Francisco will be the equivalent of watching KSC from Savannah, Georgia. I assume that's not great.

My map fu is a bit weaker to LA but I think that's the equivalent of watching from Jacksonville FL. Probably still not great.

CA is big.

I've watched MMIIIs going downrange to Kwaj in daylight, from a outdoor restaurant in Palo Alto, so it can be done if the azimuth is right.  But solids have a more obvious signature than liquids like F9.   And anywhere in LA will be much better for a south polar out of WTR.

Amusingly, I once caught a MMIII launch from WTR while driving away from the gate, and accidentally looking in my rear-view mirror...

Offline Kabloona

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I'm heading to Lompoc to go see my first SpaceX launch...and maybe my first landing?  Got everything all set, just need to figure out a good spot to view this launch and a possible landing attempt if such is in the works.  (Of course if it's a barge landing then I'll need a place with good wifi as I doubt I'd be able to watch it in person).

Will only be staying Sat night/Sun midday at present but have the option to extend if needed :)

Here's some viewing info. Santa Ynez peak may give you best visibility for launch and landing, but it is difficult to get to.

http://www.spacearchive.info/vafbview.htm
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=32534.0

Launch azimuth will be southeast toward the Channel Islands. The 4th photo in the link below shows the view of the Islands from Santa Ynez peak. Not sure, but you may even have a direct line of sight to the barge location from the peak. It will be parked northwest of San Miguel island and southwest of VAFB, about 50 miles offshore, too far out to see. But you might be able to see the landing burn.

http://www.qnet.com/~gladdly/radsights.htm
« Last Edit: 12/30/2015 01:40 PM by Kabloona »

Offline ChrisC

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Thanks Kabloona, those are great links!  Especially the first one, which is the equivalent of the Ben Cooper writeup for the eastern range launches, which I am constantly pointing people to.  I'll also read through that Cassiope thread.

San Francisco will be the equivalent of watching KSC from Savannah, Georgia. I assume that's not great.  My map fu is a bit weaker to LA but I think that's the equivalent of watching from Jacksonville FL. Probably still not great. CA is big.

Yeah, see, that's the thing.  Eastern range launches can be seen as far as Boston, depending on the launch.  Big rockets going to ISS go up the east coast and can be seen VERY far away.  Now, obviously this Jason-3 launch is not going north, but you get my point.  Just because you're far away doesn't rule out visibility.

Getting excited!  Now, to see about the logistics ...
« Last Edit: 12/30/2015 02:03 PM by ChrisC »
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Offline Bubbinski

Thank you Kabloona those links have useful info. Particularly the Cassiope thread.

You can count me out from going to the Santa Ynez peak. I'm not keen on risking a rental car on bad roads.  I watched Landsat 8 launch from Providence Landing, but if VAFB South Gate is better will see about that.
« Last Edit: 12/30/2015 02:34 PM by Bubbinski »
I'll even excitedly look forward to "flags and footprints" and suborbital missions. Just fly...somewhere.

West Ocean Avenue along Vandenberg's base-line is a pretty good spot for viewing Falcon 9 launches from. It's not direct views of the launchpad, but as close as you can get, about 2.6mi. I'm not sure where you'd go to get an unobstructed view of the landing pad. Included a photo from Flight 6 back in Sept 2013 taken on West Ocean Ave with a 500mm lens.

Offline Smallbeck

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As luck will have it I can arrange to be in SoCal that weekend!  Will definitely plan to make it to a good viewing location, probably West Ocean Avenue.
« Last Edit: 12/31/2015 01:26 AM by Smallbeck »

Offline Gliderflyer

Looks like it is going to be a party! I live 3 hours away, and have never seen a "real" rocket launch, so I'm really looking forward to this one. Does anyone know if Surf Beach will be open? If not I will be joining everyone else on Ocean Ave.
I tried it at home

Surf Beach will be closed, it's only open for Delta IV launches.

Offline PaST

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hi all
I need some informations about forthcoming Falcon launch. In January I will be in Las Vegas for training period (I come from Europe). For me this is the unique opportunity to see rocket launch (maybe the only one in my life :o ). I would like to be very close so I decide to be on Renwick Ave (whereas the Surf Beach will be closed :( ).
How long in advance is good to be in the place? Is there a lot of people? I go from Ventura, probably without internet, does exist some local radio station with launch info?
I really hope for the first time launch because I have only free days 16-17 January.  :)

Thanks for answers
Paul

Offline Jarnis

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hi all
I need some informations about forthcoming Falcon launch. In January I will be in Las Vegas for training period (I come from Europe). For me this is the unique opportunity to see rocket launch (maybe the only one in my life :o ). I would like to be very close so I decide to be on Renwick Ave (whereas the Surf Beach will be closed :( ).
How long in advance is good to be in the place? Is there a lot of people? I go from Ventura, probably without internet, does exist some local radio station with launch info?
I really hope for the first time launch because I have only free days 16-17 January.  :)

Thanks for answers
Paul

Well, the scheduled opening of launch window should be a firm time whenever it is published (usually few days prior to launch). Rocket can't go up before that time. So I guess if you are at your spot before that time, all good. Might want to be bit early, as the rocket won't wait if you are delayed by traffic or something :p

Offline billh

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hi all
I need some informations about forthcoming Falcon launch. In January I will be in Las Vegas for training period (I come from Europe). For me this is the unique opportunity to see rocket launch (maybe the only one in my life :o ). I would like to be very close so I decide to be on Renwick Ave (whereas the Surf Beach will be closed :( ).
How long in advance is good to be in the place? Is there a lot of people? I go from Ventura, probably without internet, does exist some local radio station with launch info?
I really hope for the first time launch because I have only free days 16-17 January.  :)

Thanks for answers
Paul
I hope you get to see the launch, Paul!

Offline chawleysnow

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Is there a particular location along W. Ocean Ave for that's best for viewing?  I'm planning to drive up from LA to watch the launch.

Offline PaST

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Well, the scheduled opening of launch window should be a firm time whenever it is published (usually few days prior to launch). Rocket can't go up before that time. So I guess if you are at your spot before that time, all good. Might want to be bit early, as the rocket won't wait if you are delayed by traffic or something :p


clear, thanks ;) Google maps say that it's 90 minutes from Ventura, so set off in 7:30 am would be sufficient.



I hope you get to see the launch, Paul!

Thank you! :)


Is there a particular location along W. Ocean Ave for that's best for viewing?  I'm planning to drive up from LA to watch the launch.

I think that would be little better turn right from W. Ocean Ave e.g. to Renwick Ave because the hills left of W. Ocean Ave obscure the view. But seems to me it's only a slight improvement.
This video is from here https://www.google.cz/maps/place/34%C2%B040'03.2%22N+120%C2%B033'22.9%22W/@34.6675538,-120.5738707,14z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m2!3m1!1s0x0:0x0 and this from here https://www.google.cz/maps/place/34%C2%B040'15.9%22N+120%C2%B033'15.6%22W/@34.6710864,-120.5565157,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m2!3m1!1s0x0:0x0

I wish us success. :D

Offline PaST

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Paul I'd focus on having a very up to date (with road upgrades) GPS system.  Do lots of travel research, its not easy on those CA roads.  Weather is radically different this year.  There are some mountain passes you need to contend with.  Coming from Europe you need to be up on your travel research.

I acknowledge and working on it. Thank you

Offline meekGee

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Paul I'd focus on having a very up to date (with road upgrades) GPS system.  Do lots of travel research, its not easy on those CA roads.  Weather is radically different this year.  There are some mountain passes you need to contend with.  Coming from Europe you need to be up on your travel research.

I acknowledge and working on it. Thank you

Some of us from Northern California were thinking about heading down (This was almost 8 months ago...)

Here's some Google Earth scouting.  It is difficult to get a good vantage point, and what's worse, there's likely no cell reception in those area so you'd be cut off from the webCast and NSF.

The cross section is backwards (left-to-right) but you get the point.  If you get to the peak, you'll see everything except the actual touch-down.   IF.   it's not clear from Google street view whether you can make it past the ridge line or are stopped earlier.

I entertained ideas such as getting on a train that will be blocked, on getting to the beach early and kinda lurking somewhere, etc...  even buying a 1 hour heli-ride from Lompac...    No solid plan has emerged...

After watching the last one from home, I'm conflicted on whether to go...

« Last Edit: 01/03/2016 12:07 AM by meekGee »
ABCD - Always Be Counting Down

Offline Bubbinski

I'll be flying in to BUR and heading up US 101, given the weather this year, would it be better to go up 101 to Buellton then 246 west to Lompoc, or to take Route 1 up to Lompoc, which I remember was a little bit "twisty" last time I used it to get to Lompoc for the Landsat launch?
I'll even excitedly look forward to "flags and footprints" and suborbital missions. Just fly...somewhere.

Offline spacejunkey

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I'll be flying in to BUR and heading up US 101, given the weather this year, would it be better to go up 101 to Buellton then 246 west to Lompoc, or to take Route 1 up to Lompoc, which I remember was a little bit "twisty" last time I used it to get to Lompoc for the Landsat launch?

Highway 1 does get a little twisty as you near Lompoc heading North. There is very little difference as far as road conditions are concerned, highway 246 and highway 1 are both dividied highways with limited passing zones, however I find 246 to be a little more scenic.

Source: I live in Lompoc.

Offline manoweb

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Hello, I have been searching the Internet for locations to see this launch and this forum seems to have the best information! It seems most people suggest the location of W Ocean Ave. I am intrigued by Ynez Peak - broken roads or offroad do not bother me, but it seems very far - I would like to *hear* this launch if possible.

I plan to drive down from the Bay Area on Saturday, scout around the locations, and be in place for the Sunday morning launch. Anybody knows if the police bothers people that just pull over on W. Ocean Ave? Any particular restrictions in the area?

Offline Jdeshetler

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Oh boy, the barge is about 170 miles away.

I might try for Santa Ynez Peak with my 2000mm telescope w/ 4k video camera to avoid the marina condition. Looks like the sun will be above to the left where the barge is, not ideal viewing condition......
« Last Edit: 01/04/2016 06:44 PM by Jdeshetler »

Offline Lars-J

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Oh boy, the barge is about 170 miles away.

I might try for Santa Ynez Peak with my 2000mm telescope w/ 4k video camera to avoid the marina condition. Looks like the sun will be above to the left where the barge is, not ideal viewing condition......

The barge will be far below the horizon, even from there. According to the Earth Curve calculator ( https://dizzib.github.io/earth/curve-calc/ ), you will lose sight of the stage below the horizon when it drops below ~4600 ft in altitude.

Offline Jdeshetler

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Oh boy, the barge is about 170 miles away.

I might try for Santa Ynez Peak with my 2000mm telescope w/ 4k video camera to avoid the marina condition. Looks like the sun will be above to the left where the barge is, not ideal viewing condition......

The barge will be far below the horizon, even from there. According to the Earth Curve calculator ( https://dizzib.github.io/earth/curve-calc/ ), you will lose sight of the stage below the horizon when it drops below ~4600 ft in altitude.
Indeed, on the last part, I only expect to see the flames then disappeared behind the horizon even from the 2400' summit, nothing else. However I was hoping to capture the 1st stage's body turning around which is 50 to 80 miles away if the sun angle is ideal.

Offline manoweb

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I drove in the area in mid December, unfortunately at that time I was with others and I could not really spend too much time exploring for viewing spots (and I did not perform any research yet) but I would be extremely surprised if snow were a problem.

This said, so far I have this list of possible spots:

https://www.google.com/maps/d/edit?mid=znN_Vr72kiIE.k1PgkKyZojC8&usp=sharing
(feel free to edit it and add more points of interest if you like)

- W. Ocean Ave, as far as I know, the "closest" to the launch pad, that however is not directly visible. Hopefully police will not harass people at the side of the street. Not sure if it's allowed to camp for the night.
- S. Ynez Peak, should give the best view of the rocket launch from a distance; I still do not understand if one could see the launch pad from there

Others might include other places closer to Vandenberg or even public access beaches that might however be made unaccessible by the police or the military...

Offline Jdeshetler

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Here is an additional information on sun's position during the launching.

Looks like at least 30 degrees angles between the barge and the sun from the SY Peak.

Offline manoweb

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Jdeshetler, nice, 30deg is maybe not ideal but should still be OK. When are you going down?
Also - how do you know the barge location? Is it confirmed they will use a barge and not return to Vandenberg?

Offline Comga

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Jdeshetler, nice, 30deg is maybe not ideal but should still be OK. When are you going down?
Also - how do you know the barge location? Is it confirmed they will use a barge and not return to Vandenberg?

The ADSD location is in the FCC application as shown in the Jason-3 Discussion thread.

edit: Return to Vandenberg is precluded by, among other things, a tent on the landing pad as discussed up-thread.
« Last Edit: 01/04/2016 08:07 PM by Comga »
What kind of wastrels would dump a perfectly good booster in the ocean after just one use?

Offline manoweb

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Thanks Comga - I am new to this website and still have a lot to read. Interesting that one needs, of all things, a *FCC* application to land a rocket on a barge.

Offline psloss

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Something else to keep in mind for car travel is that we're finally seeing the storm setup into California (particularly the southern part of the state that tends to be dry) that a strong El Niņo is known for, with the first set of storms just about here.  I'll be keeping an eye on how well PCH and 101 hold up this week between L.A. and Santa Barbara in case the weather pattern lingers farther into the month.

Offline xcel102

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I'm also considering going if weather is good. My main concern is Falcon having higher chance of scrub compared to Atlas. Maybe I'll take Monday off as a buffer.

I found this video on YouTube, comments say it's from Providence Landing Park, which is farther away but they can see the tip of the rocket:


How long in advance is good to be in the place?
Based on the amount of interest, I guess Ocean/Renwick might be crowded. So maybe arrive 1.5-2 hours before launch to get a good spot?

Is there a particular location along W. Ocean Ave for that's best for viewing?  I'm planning to drive up from LA to watch the launch.
For Atlas 5 launches (SLC-3E), I turn into Renwick from Ocean. If you keep driving west on Ocean, the hills actually get higher so you see less. Not sure how much of that is true in SLC-4E's direction.

there's likely no cell reception in those area
Actually cell reception is decent in the area. I always had the webcast running during the countdown -- twice at Ocean/Renwick (Atlas 5) and once at the weather station (Delta 2).

Anybody knows if the police bothers people that just pull over on W. Ocean Ave?
They likely won't bother because 1) it's a prime viewing location so they probably know why you're there, even if it's the day before; and 2) it's middle of nowhere (farmland all around you) so not much potential criminal activity to suspect on you.

- W. Ocean Ave, as far as I know, the "closest" to the launch pad, that however is not directly visible. Hopefully police will not harass people at the side of the street. Not sure if it's allowed to camp for the night.
- S. Ynez Peak, should give the best view of the rocket launch from a distance; I still do not understand if one could see the launch pad from there
- W. Ocean Ave, on launch day it will be crowded so don't worry about police. As for camping overnight, there are plenty of lodging options just 5 minutes away in Lompoc, why not get some good sleep indoors and drive back the next morning as early as you want?
- S. Ynez Peak, never been there but I'm curious too. Won't get the spectacular liftoff roar or close-up view, but on the other hand will be able to see the ascend from the side. I'm also wondering about pad visibility.
« Last Edit: 01/05/2016 09:01 AM by xcel102 »

Offline manoweb

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I'm also considering going if weather is good. My main concern is Falcon having higher chance of scrub compared to Atlas. Maybe I'll take Monday off as a buffer.

Yes, that is a good idea - anybody knows if there is a backup date/time?
PS why is there a 30s window in this kind of launch? It's not like they have to chase the ISS, I do not see why they could not launch at any time of the day or the night if they wish

Quote
Actually cell reception is decent in the area. I always had the webcast running during the countdown -- twice at Ocean/Renwick (Atlas 5) and once at the weather station (Delta 2).

So the problem may be that dozens of people are trying to stream live video on their cell phone...

Quote
- W. Ocean Ave, on launch day it will be crowded so don't worry about police. As for camping overnight, there are plenty of lodging options just 5 minutes away in Lompoc, why not get some good sleep indoors and drive back the next morning as early as you want?

I was considering all the options. And I kind of promised my kids we would camp :)

Quote
- S. Ynez Peak, never been there but I'm curious too. Won't get the spectacular liftoff roar or close-up view, but on the other hand will be able to see the ascend from the side. I'm also wondering about pad visibility.

I will definitely scout the area the day before. But I do not think I will watch the launch from there (this time).

Offline psloss

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I'm also considering going if weather is good. My main concern is Falcon having higher chance of scrub compared to Atlas. Maybe I'll take Monday off as a buffer.

Yes, that is a good idea - anybody knows if there is a backup date/time?
PS why is there a 30s window in this kind of launch? It's not like they have to chase the ISS, I do not see why they could not launch at any time of the day or the night if they wish
This may be a repeat, perhaps multiple times, but:
http://www.nesdis.noaa.gov/jason-3/mission.html
Quote
In what orbit will Jason-3 fly?

To ensure continuity of the global sea level record, Jason-3 will fly in the same 9.9 day repeat track orbit as all previous Jason missions, meaning the satellite will make observations over the same ocean point once every 9.9 days. The orbital parameters are: 66.05 degree inclination, 1380 km apogee, 1328 km perigee, 112 minutes per revolution around the earth.

One of the primary objectives of the Jason program is to monitor sea level rise, a challenging task considering the need to maintain high levels of accuracy and precision from one satellite to the next over multiple decades of time. One way to help reach this goal is to avoid gaps in the data record by launching each new Jason satellite while the older Jason satellite is still operating properly. In the first six months after launch, Jason-3 will be flown one minute behind Jason-2/OSTM, in order to detect any offsets between the missions. Subsequently, Jason-2/OSTM will be moved to different 9.9 day orbit to provide additional data coverage.

(Emphasis mine.)

Last announcement was that the next launch opportunity would be the next day.  (Beyond that, we'll have to wait to find out...well, hopefully it won't be necessary.)

« Last Edit: 01/05/2016 04:24 PM by psloss »

Offline manoweb

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hello psloss. OK I now understand why they have such short launch window - they need to position the satellite very precisely behind an existing satellite already in orbit. It's now clear.

Offline manoweb

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I have performed my own analysis on whereter one would be able to see the launch pad from S. Ynez peak, and it seems it's not possible (see chart). However, I will probably still go up to have a look.

The chart uses publicly available elevation data to calculate a profile, from SLC-4 on the left to S. Ynez peak on the right.

Offline Jdeshetler

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I have performed my own analysis on whereter one would be able to see the launch pad from S. Ynez peak, and it seems it's not possible (see chart). However, I will probably still go up to have a look.

The chart uses publicly available elevation data to calculate a profile, from SLC-4 on the left to S. Ynez peak on the right.

That's correct, there is no line of sight to the launch pad from SY Summit or any eastern summits, the SLC-4 is on the side of hills, facing the Pacific Ocean.

The real reason for picking SY Peak to to stay above the marina layer (temperature inversion) which is more unpredictable than the local weather itself especially in the am. Just want the optimal viewing of MECO and 1st stage turnaround.

Offline manoweb

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I see. According to the (limited) knowledge I have of that area of the Pacific Coast however, December-January should be the best time of the year in terms of fog, am I correct?

Online Semmel

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Jdeshetler, what hardware would you use to take the images?

Offline Jdeshetler

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Celestron C8 (2000mm) Schmidt-Cassegrain recording w/ BlackMagic Production at 4k/30f.
Mounted Canon 80-400mm f4-5.6 as a crosshair guide w/ Canon 60D (haven't decided yet)

Just want to avoid looking thru the marina layer which might distort the viewing at high power from the sea level.

Offline Pheogh

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Is there a reason that people don't travel to the end of Ocean Ave to view the launch?

View from the end of Ocean Ave:
« Last Edit: 01/08/2016 06:15 PM by Pheogh »

Offline psloss

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Is there a reason that people don't travel to the end of Ocean Ave to view the launch?
All the accounts I've read that mention roadblocks say they are put up way before one could get to that point.  A few of them mention the base's south gate, which is just a little west of Ocean's intersection with Renwick Ave that has been mentioned in this and other Vandenberg threads here.

Offline Bubbinski

Multiple sources are saying SpaceX will indeed try for an ASDS landing. Whichever place I end up to watch the launch from in the area will have good wifi or LTE reception so I can not only see the launch with my own eyes but also catch the webcast on the iPad as well.
I'll even excitedly look forward to "flags and footprints" and suborbital missions. Just fly...somewhere.

Offline jimvela

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Is there a reason that people don't travel to the end of Ocean Ave to view the launch?
View from the end of Ocean Ave:

That's surf beach, and it is generally always closed during launches.

The stop signs / gate you see in the street map view heads back onto south base, and that is never publicly accessible.

I generally go to Ocean/Renwick if I'm watching a launch that I've not flown in to work.

If the marine layer is in, I have a couple of backup spots up high that I use, but those aren't always satisfactory as they're a ways away.

Offline jimvela

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Multiple sources are saying SpaceX will indeed try for an ASDS landing. Whichever place I end up to watch the launch from in the area will have good wifi or LTE reception so I can not only see the launch with my own eyes but also catch the webcast on the iPad as well.

There are a couple of spots along Renwick that have strong AT&T LTE, and most of it has strong Verizon LTE.
I've had nothing but disappointment with Sprint and T-Mobile there, but admittedly haven't tried in about a year.

I have a passive reflector that I put a broadband access point in and point at the tower of the provider that I"m using, and I've been able to stream the launch coverage live many times from that spot.  It's pretty freaky for folks that are following the coverage and the rocket is flying while the coverage is buffered up and up to 20 seconds behind.

I'll bet that I could successfully stream video *from* that spot, but won't do that for a launch that I'm working and haven't had any interest to do that as a tourist thus far.

Offline manoweb

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One could always setup the phone to receive Twitter over SMS (text message) right? Granted, it's not like the live stream, but it should give the most useful info while one is watching a live launch...

Offline manoweb

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Apparently the Vandenberg base has published this image on their website:


http://www.vandenberg.af.mil/shared/media/ggallery/hires/2016/01/AFG-160105-015.jpg

Its says:

"Best on base viewing at 35th Street and New Beach Blvd"
"Best off base viewing at Floradale Ave and Ocean Blvd, Lompoc"

I think it's safe to assume on-base requires permits that are not available to regular humans; however, when checked on a map, they seem "weird" places as it seems easy to find slightly closer spots, inside and outside the base... Any idea?
« Last Edit: 01/08/2016 09:01 PM by manoweb »

Offline Brovane

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Looks like launch could happen on the 17th which would be great.  I live in Orange County CA so I was seriously thinking about making the 4-hour drive to see the launch.  This would be my first space launch and my wife and kids also want to come.  I planning on viewing from the Ocean/Renwick location since it seems fairly reasonable (as long as we don't have any Marine layer) and you get a good view of the launch a couple of seconds after lift-off.  Who else is going to be there from NSF? 
"Look at that! If anybody ever said, "you'll be sitting in a spacecraft naked with a 134-pound backpack on your knees charging it", I'd have said "Aw, get serious". - John Young - Apollo-16

Offline manoweb

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Me, with wife and two kids too, from the Bay Area.


Also, I will be active on ham radio (VHF/UHF). Anybody here a ham too? Maybe familiar with a repeater that could be used to get information from people in their QTH with a reliable Internet connection.

I'll be there with a full car of friends! This'll be my 12th Vandy launch assuming all goes well.

To answer an earlier question, LTE coverage is great on Ocean Ave, should be easy to stream launch coverage on whatever device you may have.

Offline jimvela

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Me, with wife and two kids too, from the Bay Area.
Also, I will be active on ham radio (VHF/UHF). Anybody here a ham too?

KD0MKI here.
Locally, the Satellite Amateur Radio Club has a club facility in the hills up by where the USAF has a GPS comm installation.
They have been very welcoming to me when I've visited in the past.
http://www.satellitearc.com/

Quote
Maybe familiar with a repeater that could be used to get information from people in their QTH with a reliable Internet connection.

I've dropped in on the SARC folks several times when out working or visiting the area, and they've happily allowed the use of their 2M repeater.  I've also been a good neighbor- using the obligatory minimum TX power to hit the repeaters.
I've never been hassled on or off base, though I can imagine getting some negative attention if you rolled up towing a mobile shack and large antenna...

As with everywhere I've been on the planet, the local HAM community is an awesome bunch of folks and it's very much worth your time to introduce yourself to them.  I've also gone up to the club facility in the hills a couple of times when the marine layer was in thick and it was clear that there wasn't much to see down low.  Once I even got to see a launch pop out of the marine layer from there (rare occurrence).

Most of the SARC members have been in the area a long time, and more than a few work on base, so they're not as excited as us visitors over any given launch- but my own experience with them has been fantastic.

To get to the SARC club facilites from Ocean/Renwick without a base pass, it takes driving all the way around through Lompoc  and back up by Casmalia.

Speaking of Casmalia, if any NSF members do end up that way, stop by the Hitchin' Post and try some of the fantastic local fare there.  I make a point of visiting every time I go out. 
http://www.hitchingpost1.com/

Also get some Pie at Sissy's if you have a chance.  Order pie when you arrive. http://sissysuptowncafe.com/


My suggestion for any NSF members that go out is to meet up and pool resources- share broadband connections, coordinate picture taking and other activities.  Maybe even post live updates here on day of launch.

It's also a great experience to extend outreach as you visit.  Each time I've set up either on Ocean Ave or off Ocean on Renwick, there has been a crowd of random people that decided that was the time to take the family to see a launch.  Sharing knowledge, streaming the launch coverage, and of course providing information after the launch from our excellent source of news (ahem... NSF) - all of that is warmly received by folks coming to visit.

One reminder that I always provide- Ocean/Renwick has zero facilities, so you'll need a plan for meals and potty breaks.  Don't expect anything to be there- it's a beautiful little farming spot on the border of an air force base a good 5 minutes from Lompoc's eateries or restrooms.  That alone is enough to push some folks further out.

For myself, I'm still on the fence about going out- if word here and word of mouth from my contacts looks promising I may yet do a spur of the moment trip, but this year is shaping up as holding a bunch of things I want to see launched, so my odds are perhaps 30% for this one.
« Last Edit: 01/13/2016 03:47 AM by jimvela »

Offline pericynthion

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If I were to fly into the Lompoc airport, would anyone be willing to pick me up and take me to a better viewing spot?  Perhaps in exchange for a ride in my VariEze? :)

Offline manoweb

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Hello, KE7JDE here. I had a look at SARC already but they list too many repeaters :)

Repeaters
147.12 + 131.8 pl WA6VPL
145.14 - 131.8 pl KM6DF
146.7 - 127.3 pl Van Lyons
145.71 simp. Echolink
145.360 - 131.8 pl WB6FLY
146.175 + 100 pl KA6BFB

Plus they have a link to a huge list of repeaters in the region. Any specific one you recommend?

pericynthion: I am traveling with my family but if you need a ride from the airport just let me know, I can always leave them momentarily and come to pick you up; I was planning to watch from W. Ocean ave this time. What was your plan, what time would you come in?

Offline Jim_LAX

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W6YFU (inactive) here.  I plan on driving up from Los Angeles that morning to watch the launch.  I think I will put a sign on my truck with my NSF handle on it.  I'll be on Ocean Ave near the South Gate base entrance.  I'm retired aerospace, Hughes Aircraft Co.  Say hello when you see me!
"I don't go along with going to the Moon first in order to build a launch pad to go to Mars.  We should go to Mars from Earth orbit."

Offline manoweb

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I'll be on a blue truck with a tent on top. You will see me. The license plate is my callsign KE7JDE

(PS I watched "The Aviator" movie last week)

Offline jimvela

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Has there been any new "security requirements" listed for a viewing?

Reason I'm asking is an experience that happened last week at a trade show.

Clearly a major uptick in security.  Even worse, they had the bomb sniffing dogs out in the isles.  If you know anything about security you are aware what that means.

None being reported that I know of.
If you drive by the gates at 13th/Ocean Avenue and see armored vehicles just inside the gates on either side, that'd be a sign the base is on heightened alert status.

Just be polite and respectful of any law enforcement that you interact with and you'll be fine. 

More notes for visitors- large swaths of the area (including Highway 1 between the main gate and 135, and Ocean Avenue from 13th to Surf beach) are technically on VAFB, so the MPs have full authority to control the area.  "Yes, Sir." or "Yes, Ma'am." work great when interacting with them.

As an aside, VAFB's website now shows this:
(Note launch and landing)
« Last Edit: 01/13/2016 05:59 PM by jimvela »

Offline deruch

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As an aside, VAFB's website now shows this:
(Note launch and landing)

Hahaha. 

"Take that, 45th Space Wing!  You may have stolen the first landing from us, but we're going to be even more innovative than you."  -- 30th Space Wing
Shouldn't reality posts be in "Advanced concepts"?  --Nomadd

Offline bstrong

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As an aside, VAFB's website now shows this:
(Note launch and landing)

Hahaha. 

"Take that, 45th Space Wing!  You may have stolen the first landing from us, but we're going to be even more innovative than you."  -- 30th Space Wing
I wonder if the "to and from space" bit is a reference to dragon landings at VAFB. Doesn't quite make sense just talking about returning boosters.

Online abaddon

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I wonder if the "to and from space" bit is a reference to dragon landings at VAFB. Doesn't quite make sense just talking about returning boosters.
The Orbcomm2 booster apogee was around 200km, well above what is considered "space".  They didn't say "orbit".  So that seems perfectly reasonable.
« Last Edit: 01/15/2016 05:39 PM by abaddon »

Offline Jdeshetler

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Sudden Peak and the access road will be blocked by the sheriff since this area fall under "Clear Zone" as I am told since the flight path goes south.

I might considering going up to Santa Ynez Peak w/ my 4x4 truck (1.5 hrs from Lompoc and climbed 4,300') only if there is no high overcast. However it's high overcast (very likely, thanks to El Nino), then the Ocean Ave. spot will be my next choice.
« Last Edit: 01/15/2016 05:58 PM by Jdeshetler »

Offline Brovane

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I am showing Weather.com saying that it will be cloudy on Sunday.  How will the viewing from Ocean Ave. be?  Trying to decide if it is worth the 4-hour drive to view the launch in person. 
"Look at that! If anybody ever said, "you'll be sitting in a spacecraft naked with a 134-pound backpack on your knees charging it", I'd have said "Aw, get serious". - John Young - Apollo-16

Offline manoweb

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Sudden Peak and the access road will be blocked by the sheriff since this area fall under "Clear Zone" as I am told since the flight path goes south.

Would the access road be the S. Miguelito Rd you can see on the Google maps? I am going down on Saturday and I would like to scout out all these places.

Quote
I might considering going up to Santa Ynez Peak w/ my 4x4 truck (1.5 hrs from Lompoc and climbed 4,300'

I'll definitely go up to S. Ynez peak on Saturday to have a look. I hope to be able to report back on this thread. I will have to try to connect to this website with a cell-phone to see if it's usable.

Offline bstrong

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Scouting report on using SJC -> LAX flight as viewing location:  :D

If you can time it just right and they don't divert flights too much during the launch, you can probably see the whole flight.

Attached: photos of a cloud-covered rocket and a cloud-covered barge.

Offline Lars-J

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Here is a google maps link with annotated viewing spots, for those who need directions:
https://www.google.com/maps/d/viewer?mid=zG69-052IIEA.kmxhnoSqMjio

(source, with additional viewing tips: https://www.reddit.com/r/spacex/comments/415ppz/tips_on_viewing_sundays_launch_from_vafb/ )

Offline manoweb

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Thanks Lars-J - I was just uploading my waypoints to the topographic GPS. I will complement my research with the data found at your links.

Edit - also, the ham radio repeater info is most interesting
« Last Edit: 01/16/2016 04:48 AM by manoweb »

Offline Smallbeck

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We are flying down from Seattle tonight and will be at W Ocean Ave for the attempt. 

Can someone recommend a nearby restaurant/bar to watch the football game?  Giving up most of the first half for but hoping to catch the rest after the launch.
« Last Edit: 01/16/2016 04:02 PM by Smallbeck »

Offline Jim_LAX

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I'm not familiar with Lompoc, but I can certainly recommend Pea Soup Andersen's in Buellton, California
US 101 and State Route 246.  Excellent food, they cater to travelers.
"I don't go along with going to the Moon first in order to build a launch pad to go to Mars.  We should go to Mars from Earth orbit."

Offline spacejunkey

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We are flying down from Seattle tonight and will be at W Ocean Ave for the attempt. 

Can someone recommend a nearby restaurant/bar to watch the football game?  Giving up most of the first half for but hoping to catch the rest after the launch.

Pizza Garden on H Street is a good place, lots of TV's, good pizza, and a wide selection of beer.

Offline manoweb

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Today I went at Surf Beach and took some photos of the F9 from far away. Kind of hazy weather, I will see if I find the correct USB cable to download them to the computer...

Offline ArbitraryConstant

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We are flying down from Seattle tonight and will be at W Ocean Ave for the attempt.
Where? Based on comments I think I will try Ocean and Renwick...

Offline Bubbinski

Here's what it's looking like outside in Lompoc right now.  Given this is Ocean and Renwick still good or should I go to Providence Landing or someplace further north?
« Last Edit: 01/17/2016 02:34 PM by Bubbinski »
I'll even excitedly look forward to "flags and footprints" and suborbital missions. Just fly...somewhere.

Offline Chris Bergin

Clipped this from one of Philip's L2 videos (he's there for NSF for this launch) as I do love the "turn into SLC-4" and see F9 greeting you! :)


Offline Bubbinski

Here's a view from Ocean and Renwick right now.
« Last Edit: 01/17/2016 03:17 PM by Bubbinski »
I'll even excitedly look forward to "flags and footprints" and suborbital missions. Just fly...somewhere.

Offline jimvela

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Here's a view from Ocean and Renwick right now.

Looks like it will be one of those days where the distance gets a bit brighter, followed in a bit by a low rumble that grows in intensity until it fades out.

On days like this, remember that one of the best things about going to see a rocket launch is meeting people that went out of their way to go see a rocket launch.

Even with the obstructed view, I'm wishing I was out there in person...

Offline Jim_LAX

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Yup.  More than a hundred people here today, but chance of SEEING the launch seams slim.  Hello Manoweb, nice to meet you in person!
"I don't go along with going to the Moon first in order to build a launch pad to go to Mars.  We should go to Mars from Earth orbit."

Offline Bubbinski

Less than 1 hour before launch, here's the latest look
« Last Edit: 01/17/2016 04:47 PM by Bubbinski »
I'll even excitedly look forward to "flags and footprints" and suborbital missions. Just fly...somewhere.

Offline ArbitraryConstant

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Near ocean and renwick!

Offline ArbitraryConstant

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Saw it through the clouds!

Offline pericynthion

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Had a good view from my VariEze at 6500ft. I'll post video when I get to a decent internet connection.

Offline Bubbinski

Heard quite a roar though I couldn't see the glow. If I got it it would be on my GoPro, will process it later.
I'll even excitedly look forward to "flags and footprints" and suborbital missions. Just fly...somewhere.

Offline Smoores

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Hello everyone! I've been a fan of the forum here for a while, but haven't had much to contribute, so I've been a guest here for a while. This is truly a treasure trove of rocket knowledge. I really wanted to go to this launch, but I wasn't feeling great last night. But I made a last second decision and decided to try to see my first rocket launch today. I left Thousand Oaks (120 miles away) at 8:50 this morning, and somehow managed to get there as they were going over the -10 minute Launch status test. In fact Mr. Bubbinski, I think I must have been just a couple cars from you, judging by your pics. Sadly I can't say I saw it either. I was able to hear it very clearly for around 6 minutes. To be honest, I think if I had stayed back at Thousand Oaks, or found a good vantage point in the mountains around me, I think I could have caught a glimpse of the the first stage re-ignition.

Online QuantumG

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Welcome to the forum. I have a coworker who lives in Thousand Oaks but he'd be much too busy to be out watching a rocket launch ;)
Jeff Bezos has billions to spend on rockets and can go at whatever pace he likes! Wow! What pace is he going at? Well... have you heard of Zeno's paradox?

Offline Jim

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There are other vehicles with better visibility than Falcon.
« Last Edit: 01/17/2016 10:17 PM by Jim »

Offline xyv

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Was up at Santa Ynez peak.  A few seconds between breakout from the fog layer and disappearing into the upper cloud layer.  Managed to get a few hazy pictures - here is one enlarged a bit. 

Offline psloss

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The weather was much better for viewing yesterday.  Maybe a little offshore flow next time.

Question for anyone who might know: how big a crowd was that in the West Ocean Avenue area this morning?  It was the middle of a three-day weekend and listening to the end of the SpaceX webcast they hint at some people making the drive up from L.A.
« Last Edit: 01/17/2016 11:06 PM by psloss »

Offline Brovane

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Just got back from the launch "listening".  I was right near Ocean and 13th street.  I was parked behind a Semi carrying Liquid Nitrogen that was parked on the side of the road.  This was my first space launch.  Traveled from Orange County so it was about a 400 mile round trip.  I told my wife and children before the trip that it was a crap shot but we decided to go for it anyway.  I was glad we did and we will try again with another launch.  Was disappointed that we couldn't see anything but the important thing was the mission was successful.  I had solid service from Verizon before the launch but as the launch time approached my service degraded to the point that I couldn't really do anything online.  My friend with AT&T had the same experience.  The cell towers were probably over-loaded.  By the time it was launch time the Ocean blvd was crowded and it was even more fun trying to get out of there after the launch. 

Is there another way out of area from Ocean and 13th street after the launch besides heading back into Lompoc on Ocean?  While we sat in the traffic we kept seeing cars u-turning across the Meridian and heading back toward's 13th street and I couldn't figure out were they were going.  It looked like they were turning right onto 13th street but there is a base gate right up the road.  So unless they had base access I was trying to figure it out.  I was just patient and waited for the traffic to start moving, which it eventually did. 
"Look at that! If anybody ever said, "you'll be sitting in a spacecraft naked with a 134-pound backpack on your knees charging it", I'd have said "Aw, get serious". - John Young - Apollo-16

Offline NovaSilisko

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There are other vehicles with better visibility than Falcon.

What launcher in what configuration would you say has the best visibility from Vandenberg, in your experience?

Offline Bubbinski

Here's a screen cap from my Go Pro at Ocean & Renwick when it launched.
« Last Edit: 01/17/2016 11:28 PM by Bubbinski »
I'll even excitedly look forward to "flags and footprints" and suborbital missions. Just fly...somewhere.

Offline Jim_LAX

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Brovane:  I had the same experience with disappearing internet access at launch time through my new Verizon phone, even though the LTE signal remained fairly strong.  I think we all swamped the internet connection at the local cell towers.   :(  Still, I enjoyed the "tail gating" experience with a rocket launch instead of a sports event.  Will bring food and chairs next time!
"I don't go along with going to the Moon first in order to build a launch pad to go to Mars.  We should go to Mars from Earth orbit."

Offline Gliderflyer

I was parked behind a Semi carrying Liquid Nitrogen that was parked on the side of the road. 

I must have been right next to you. I got a short video of the sound, but there wasn't even a orange glow through the clouds. Guess I'm coming back out for the next one!
I tried it at home

Offline Lars-J

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There are other vehicles with better visibility than Falcon.

What launcher in what configuration would you say has the best visibility from Vandenberg, in your experience?

Anything with solid boosters should be easier to see.

Offline Brovane

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I was parked behind a Semi carrying Liquid Nitrogen that was parked on the side of the road. 

I must have been right next to you. I got a short video of the sound, but there wasn't even a orange glow through the clouds. Guess I'm coming back out for the next one!

You must have been right on the corner of Ocean and 13th street judging the angle.  We were in the tan conversion van parked behind the semi.  Yeah I was disappointed that there wasn't even a orange glow.  There was a photographer right next to me from the OC Register and he wasn't able to get anything useful. 
« Last Edit: 01/17/2016 11:44 PM by Brovane »
"Look at that! If anybody ever said, "you'll be sitting in a spacecraft naked with a 134-pound backpack on your knees charging it", I'd have said "Aw, get serious". - John Young - Apollo-16

Offline Jim_LAX

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GliderFlyer:  I was across the street and 100 yards farther South.  Manoweb was another 100 yards South of me.  I put signs in the side windows of my truck saying Jim_LAX, but we need a better way to identify each other.  Yes?
"I don't go along with going to the Moon first in order to build a launch pad to go to Mars.  We should go to Mars from Earth orbit."

Offline Brovane

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GliderFlyer:  I was across the street and 100 yards farther South.  Manoweb was another 100 yards South of me.  I put signs in the side windows of my truck saying Jim_LAX, but we need a better way to identify each other.  Yes?

Anyone for a Delta IV heavy?

There is a Delta IV Medium in February.

It might help if the people that going PM each other and exchange cell phone #s so we can Txt each other when we arrive. 
« Last Edit: 01/17/2016 11:51 PM by Brovane »
"Look at that! If anybody ever said, "you'll be sitting in a spacecraft naked with a 134-pound backpack on your knees charging it", I'd have said "Aw, get serious". - John Young - Apollo-16

Offline oiorionsbelt

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There are other vehicles with better visibility than Falcon.

What launcher in what configuration would you say has the best visibility from Vandenberg, in your experience?

Anything with solid boosters should be easier to see.
Right now, no other rocket is even close to having the visibility that F9 has.


Offline Gliderflyer

GliderFlyer:  I was across the street and 100 yards farther South.  Manoweb was another 100 yards South of me.  I put signs in the side windows of my truck saying Jim_LAX, but we need a better way to identify each other.  Yes?

Anyone for a Delta IV heavy?

There is a Delta IV Medium in February.

It might help if the people that going PM each other and exchange cell phone #s so we can Txt each other when we arrive.

I might be down for that, depending on how busy work is. I was wearing my NSF hat today, but nobody recognized it. We should setup a designated meet place beforehand.
I tried it at home

Offline Jim_LAX

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Maybe a flashing "Blue Lite Special" like Kmart used to have?
"I don't go along with going to the Moon first in order to build a launch pad to go to Mars.  We should go to Mars from Earth orbit."

Offline manoweb

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Another option could be a whatsapp or hangout chat the people join even days before - even if internet was very unreliable, I was able to "hanghout" chat with my friends in other continents.

Greeting to everybody, it was a fantastic experience anyway. Made new good friends!

Did anybody notice the cows running away when the rumble started? :D

Offline Comga

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There are other vehicles with better visibility than Falcon.

What launcher in what configuration would you say has the best visibility from Vandenberg, in your experience?

Anything with solid boosters should be easier to see.

Doesn't someone have the tag line that "solids are a branch of fireworks"?
That really applies comparing an Atlas V 411 to a Falcon 9 "R". 
The "fireworks" might be easier to spot, but they won't have greater "visibility" by some definitions.

(Note my favorite launch viewing was was an Atlas V 551, and the "display" was not great, only ~30 seconds.)
What kind of wastrels would dump a perfectly good booster in the ocean after just one use?

Offline Bubbinski

Here's a shortened version of the video and audio I got of the launch from Ocean & Renwick. Nothing to see, but plenty to hear!  It was exciting in its own right to listen to that rumble, and it was great to meet a number of fellow enthusiasts.  It was like a mini-Woodstock out there for space geeks. 

And now I've taken 6 launch trips, gotten 6 launches out of them.  If any space organization wants to hire me as their launch attendance good luck charm I'm listening ;)

I'll even excitedly look forward to "flags and footprints" and suborbital missions. Just fly...somewhere.

Offline ArbitraryConstant

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Question for anyone who might know: how big a crowd was that in the West Ocean Avenue area this morning?
Looked like back to back cars pulled over on both sides for at least a mile.

Offline ArbitraryConstant

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Nothing to see, but plenty to hear!
What surprised me is that that popping/crackling sound really sounds like that. I guess I always thought that was an effect from the mic maxing out or something.

Offline Smoores

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The sad part was had it been set to launch 15 minutes later, I think we would have been able to see much more (or frankly anything). The sun started poking through the clouds at 11. But I guess SpaceX has bigger priorities than catering to the crowd.
« Last Edit: 01/18/2016 05:03 AM by Smoores »

Offline Lars-J

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The sad part was had it been set to launch 15 minutes later, I think we would have been able to see much more (or frankly anything). The sun started poking through the clouds at 11. But I guess SpaceX has bigger priorities than catering to the crowd.

Yes, like delivering the customer payload to the right orbit matching Jason-2.

Offline Jdeshetler

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Question for anyone who might know: how big a crowd was that in the West Ocean Avenue area this morning?
Looked like back to back cars pulled over on both sides for at least a mile.

It's almost like a tailgating event without football stadium. Good spirits all around.

Hanging around to hear the landing result.

The vendor w/ SpaceX jacket is even passing out some free SpaceX stickers.

Edit: save as new jpg files, is it oriented upright for iOS Tapatalk app this time?
« Last Edit: 01/18/2016 06:22 PM by Jdeshetler »

Offline psloss

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Question for anyone who might know: how big a crowd was that in the West Ocean Avenue area this morning?
Looked like back to back cars pulled over on both sides for at least a mile.
Sorry, I meant how big relative to crowds for past launches -- it was my first time out there.  Does it get bigger than that and how much?

Offline Lars-J

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Question for anyone who might know: how big a crowd was that in the West Ocean Avenue area this morning?
Looked like back to back cars pulled over on both sides for at least a mile.

It's almost like a tailgating event without football stadium. Good spirits all around.

Hanging around to hear the landing result.

The vendor with SpaceX jacket is even passing out free SpaceX stickers.

Cool pictures, but are they upside down for anyone else?

Online abaddon

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It's hard to tell with that big ugly tree.  Gross!

(They appear to be oriented normally to me).
« Last Edit: 01/18/2016 03:37 PM by abaddon »

Offline Lars-J

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It's hard to tell with that big ugly tree.  Gross!

(They appear to be oriented normally to me).

They were flipped on the iOS Tapatalk app, but look normal now on a desktop browser. Tapatalk must not be reading an orientation flag right.

Offline Mongo62

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Did anybody notice the cows running away when the rumble started? :D

« Last Edit: 01/18/2016 06:00 PM by Mongo62 »

Offline manoweb

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Ahah yes and now I also remember those car alarms.

It is probably worth nothing that I have found the rumble itself not to be too loud, less that I expected (I saw people with earmuffs that were absolutely unnecessary) but what was special was maybe the low frequency of the noise that is not very common to be experienced in day to day life?


Offline psloss

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Ahah yes and now I also remember those car alarms.

It is probably worth nothing that I have found the rumble itself not to be too loud, less that I expected (I saw people with earmuffs that were absolutely unnecessary) but what was special was maybe the low frequency of the noise that is not very common to be experienced in day to day life?
The sound was very good -- we were close enough that you could feel it a little bit.  The sound was in the same ballpark with CCAFS Atlas V launches as viewed from the KSC Press Site.  Well, at least Atlas V 401s, anyway.  An Atlas from SLC-3 would be fun from there...assuming it could be seen.  It's an interesting experience, the sound only, but putting it together with the visual is "way" better.

Offline Jim

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There are other vehicles with better visibility than Falcon.

What launcher in what configuration would you say has the best visibility from Vandenberg, in your experience?

Not just the configuration but there are actual pads that are visible from viewing sites.

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